United States v. Bickart, No. 15-2890 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
The Bickarts prepared and filed an income tax return containing false income and withholding amounts, supported by fabricated 1099‐OID forms, appearing to come from major financial institutions. The IRS paid a claimed refund of $115,412. Their legitimate refund would have been $263. The IRS discovered the fraud and sent a bill for $217,923. For years, the Bickarts engaged in obstructive conduct, sending a 1040‐V payment coupon and continuing to insist that the bill had been paid. They made baseless accusations against IRS agents. They were convicted of conspiring to file and filing a false claim to defraud the government, 18 U.S.C. 286 and 287. The Bickarts represented themselves at trial, asserting “sovereign citizen” claims and making nonsensical accusations. The PSR applied a two‐level enhancement for sophisticated means based on the fictitious Forms 1099‐OID and a two‐level enhancement for obstruction of justice, resulting in a guidelines imprisonment range of 33-41 months. Neither objected to the calculations. The court sentenced each defendant to 24 months in prison. Defendants objected to supervised release conditions requiring them to notify third parties of risks related to their criminal history when directed by the probation office. The court modified it to require the probation office to seek court approval. They also objected to the condition permitting a probation officer to visit them at home or at work at any reasonable time. The court overruled the objection. The Seventh Circuit vacated the third‐party notification condition, but otherwise affirmed the remaining conditions of supervised release and sentence.